Honing Our Sense of Direction at the Roman Forum and Theater

We’ve been taking day trips outside of Amman for the past few weeks, neglecting the incredible sights that are just miles from our house. After seeing the Temple of Hercules in the distance from dinner last week at Souk Jara (the temple in Amman, not to be confused with the one we saw a couple of weeks ago in Jerash), I wanted to see the Citadel, where the temple lies. Raj and I were feeling adventurous and decided we’d drive ourselves. Have I mentioned that  we don’t have a GPS (yet), street names are a relatively new phenomenon here, and people give directions using landmarks?

Roman Forum & Theater

We managed to make our way towards the Roman forum, driving through a lovely part of town that looked as though people had been evicted and their belongings were thrown into the street. This was not eviction day, just a flea market. If you need scrap metal or broken appliances, this is the place to go. We eventually spotted the theater in the distance and could easily have missed it because there weren’t any signs for it and  it’s undergoing a massive renovation hiding the complex behind barricades. We made our way to the theater, which was built between 169-177 AD, during Marcus Aurelius’ reign. It  was built to seat 6,000 and as you can see from the pictures, the stairs are extremely steep. We walked to the top above the seating to check out a small, empty shrine with niches. The dedication isn’t known, but part of a statue of Athena was found during excavations.

We stayed here about an hour, enjoying the views and looking off into the distance at the Temple of Hercules on the opposite hill. This is where I wanted to go next, Jebel al-Qal’a (Citadel Hill). On our way out of the theater, we quickly looked at the forum, but most of it was behind the gates of construction, so our access was severely limited.

We hopped back in the car, unsure of how to get to Jebel al-Qal’a, but how hard could it be to go directly across the hill, probably less than one mile away? Apparently it is VERY difficult because we ended up getting lost, for an hour,  with only our limited sense of direction to get us back home. We made it home frazzled and decided that we’ll take a cab to Jebel al-Qal’a in a couple of weeks.

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